Sealants are one of the most successful techniques used in caries prevention. Although typically associated with pediatric care, they effectively protect permanent teeth of many adults as well. When creating a treatment plan, the dentist will carefully select specific teeth for sealant placement. The factors determining the selection include: the patient’s oral habits, sugar discipline and dry mouth syndrome (xerostomia), along with any other health issues.
At present, two methods of sealant applications are available and are chosen according to the specific needs of the patient. Unfilled sealants are placed by a dental hygienist, typically following the prophylactic cleaning when the oral region is free of plaque, tartar and debris. Flowable material is used to fill pits and fissures of the teeth. The substance is resistant to ruptures and is self-occluding. Filled sealants are placed by the dentist by using a blend of chemicals and resin. This type of material is long-lasting and protects the tooth structure from fractures and abrasions. In most cases, the restoration has to be adjusted to match the occlusal plane.
Sealant retention often depends on several aspects.
• Depth of pits and fissures
• Intensity of masticating habits
• Oral habits of the patient including diet and home care
• Highest success rate is noted when sealants are installed promptly after prophylaxis